Lightyear Capital LLC, a private equity firm focused on financial services, announced Monday it has reached an agreement to acquire Miami-based Neff Corp. from Odyssey Investment Partners. Odyssey acquired Neff in June 2005 for $510 million, including debt. Terms of the transaction, scheduled to close in the second quarter, were not disclosed. The closing is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.
Lightyear led a group of investors including General Electric Pension Trust and Norwest Equity Partners. Neff’s existing management team will be investing in the transaction. Bank of America, CIBC World Markets, GE Capital Markets and UBS Investment Bank are arranging the debt financing.
Neff Corp. was founded in 1989 although the company’s origins date back to a Deere dealership founded in the 1960s by the late Jorge Mas, father of current CEO Juan Carlos Mas. Upon the transaction’s closing, Mas will become chairman of Neff, while current president and chief operating officer Graham Hood will become president and CEO. Mas and Hood are widely viewed as having solidified the company operationally and financially.
“Neff’s asset management core competency makes it an ideal fit within Lightyear’s portfolio as we continue our investment strategy of seeking leading companies within specialty growth areas of financial services,” said Donald Marron, chairman and CEO of Lightyear. “With its attractive geographic footprint, proven ability to deliver quality customer service to its clients, and highly regarded management team, Neff has been a consistent top performer and remains well positioned for future growth.”
With 66 branches primarily located in the southeast and southwestern United States, Neff is a national player in the equipment rental industry, ranked No. 9 on the RER 100. Neff operates through five geographic regions: Florida, Southeastern, Mid-Atlantic, Central and Western.
“Lightyear’s successful track record in working with companies in specialty growth markets to build long-term value makes it an ideal partner for Neff,” said Hood. “We are eager to combine our resources to further our organic growth and take advantage of positive industry trends.”
Lightyear’s portfolio of companies includes BakerCorp., formerly Baker Tanks, a leading liquid and solid containment equipment rental and leasing services company.
CIBC World Markets and Credit Suisse are acting as financial advisors to Neff in the transaction.